Overcoming Food Addiction: Difficulties and Tips

Categories: Food Addiction

overcoming food addictionLike any other addiction, overcoming food addiction is really difficult.  You know in your heart that consuming too much of the bad stuff is not good for you but you just can’t stop.  You are addicted to food my friend but I assure you that you are not alone.  Many others just like you are suffering too.

You want to be lean and fit.  You want a healthier version of you but the challenge here is that you simply can’t do it no matter how hard you push yourself.  Why is this so?  This article aims to explain why overcoming food addiction is but a trying thing to do.  In addition, this post has helpful tips to help you get over your addiction to food.

Why Do We Keep Coming Back For More?

We already know that our addiction to food brings about detrimental effects to our personal well-being but why do we keep eating until we can’t eat anymore?  The harsh truth is that no matter how intelligent or knowledgeable we are, we won’t be able to stop eating because of mere “associations” our brain makes.

What is association?  An association is a connection that your mind makes between a feeling and a person, thing, experience, or in this case food.

An example is a person’s crippling fear of clowns.  This unusual fear might come as an outcome of watching terrifying and gory movies that feature clowns (and masked men) as predators or killers.  That particular scene creates an association in a person’s (or young child’s) mind.  Now, whenever this person sees a clown even when it is nothing like the killer clowns seen in movies, this person will feel panic and fear.

We also make associations with food.  For example, you ate a chocolate cake (or any other food) one day and you just fell in love with how it tastes.  At that particular instance, your mind created an association linking pizza to a pleasant feeling.  Every time you eat chocolate cake, you keep getting that pleasant feeling and the association to this feeling just keeps getting stronger.

The problem with this is that the association your mind makes trumps your knowledge.  For example, even if you know that eating too much chocolate cake or junk will cause certain illnesses, you will not stop yourself from eating them because the link between the food and the pleasant feeling is just too strong to fight.  Now tell me.  How can you stay away from something that gives a pleasant feeling?


Overcoming Food Addiction: Removing The Association

We can already perceive what the problem is – association.  But before you get to eliminate the association, find something that will motivate you to manage your food addiction.

Find something that will motivate you to change your eating habits.  It can be your family or your kids.  Think about seeing your kids finally settling down or the joy you’ll feel when you finally get to hold your great grand kids.

Another good motivation or catapult for change is the health scare.  Your health condition will encourage you to eventually watch what you eat.  Fear of a worsening condition will give you that needed jolt to stop yourself from over consuming food.  Or maybe you can think of a leaner, fitter, and healthier you.  Remember that you deserve to look and feel good about yourself.

When you finally determined your motivation, the next step is to recognize your associations to food that you can’t stop eating.  Why do you eat that food?  Does it give you a natural high?  Does it make you happy?  Does it make you calm?

After you have determined the associations, you will need to change how you feel about those foods that you can’t stop consuming.  You can, for example, associate eating too much unhealthy food to diseases or to not seeing your grand kids in the future.  It will be better if you create a strong negative link between food and your emotions.

The next step to overcoming food addiction is to reinforce positive feelings to NOT over indulging in food.  For example, you can reward yourself with a new book (or any of your favorite things) every time you resisted the urge to eat a whole cake.  This way, you’ll feel pleasure every time you stop yourself from over indulging.

Remember to always practice the new associations to food that you have made.  This way, the new connection between your emotions and food is made stronger.  Repetition is the key my friend.

Overcoming food addiction is easier said than done.  If you continue to practice the tips in this post, you will find yourself moving toward overcoming your food addiction.  Good luck!

Doriet von Fircks

About the author

Doriet von Fircks is a health practitioner and a nutrition expert.
She specializes in food related problems, such as food addiction.
After reading many articles about food addiction, especially lots of scientific journals, she realized that there was hardly any discussion about food addiction from a scientific perspective.
She updates the site frequently, ensuring that the latest scientific findings are always featured on FoodAddictionScience.com. If you have questions about this site or suggestions for improvement, please feel free to contact her.